The Salentine Peninsula

 
   
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The Salentine Peninsula

Daily direct flights from the UK to Brindisi start in April 2004. Almost all the Salentine peninsula is now easily accessible, within an hour or so’s drive of Brindisi airport, and this is bound to cause an upsurge of interest in the area.

The province of Lecce has a great deal to attract visitors. Property tends to be cheaper than in the sought-after trulli area to the north, and is a mix of villas by the sea and rural properties including masserias for restoration. Restoration costs are cheaper than for trulli, and it is still possible to pick up bargains here.

The countryside is famous for its wines and olive oil, and from San Cataldo on the Adriatic coast to Porto Cesareo on the Adriatic, via the tip of Puglia at Santa Maria di Leuca, there is
a splendid scenic coastal route of some 160 kilometers which passes along its length woods, farmland, rocky coves, caves, limestone cliffs and picturesque fishing villages.

Lecce itself is famous for its Lecce Baroque style of architecture which flourished between the 16th and 18th centuries, although it has monuments from other ages including the Roman theatre and amphitheatre in the town centre. It became known as the Apulian Athens because of its tradition of scholarship, and still today it is a cultured university town.

Prehistoric remains dotting the countryside show this was an area inhabited since very ancient times. The messapian civilisation flourished here, followed by the Greeks and Romans. The area was under Byzantine control until the Normans conquered the area in the
11th century. They have left their mark in romanesque cathedrals, notably at Otranto. Later the area was part of the Kingdom of Naples, under Spanish control, and there is a history of uprising against the Bourbon rule. During these years there was also continual risk of invasion by the Turks.

A Tour of the Salentine Peninsula

A Tour West of Lecce in Taranto and Brindisi Provinces

What the papers say
Guardian guide 21 August 2004